The nominees for this year’s Finlandia Prize for Architecture are Jyväskylä University’s Main Library refurbishment, Jätkäsaari Comprehensive School in Helsinki and the Serlachius Art Sauna in Mänttä.
Built following an open architecture competition in 2019, Jätkäsaari Comprehensive School comprises a series of “home units”, where learning spaces, built around a central lobby, are designed to lend themselves to a variety of different educational purposes. It is the work of Erkko Aarti, Kuutti Halinen, Janne Kentala, Arto Ollila and Mikki Ristola (AOR Arkkitehdit).
The building plays an important role in this brand new urban district that, for the time being, remains under development. With a sharply drawn, block-like presence, the building represents a fresh and exciting departure from the Finnish school-building idiom.
The brick-clad ground floor gives the building a pleasant sense of rootedness, while the rest of the facade is executed in a lighter colour, linking the school with the built environment that surrounds it. The facade offers a brisk interplay between multiple window openings and unbroken frontage.
The sophisticated use of light is further enhanced by the presence of lightwells. The architectural finishing touch here comes in the form of the school’s quirky and colourful playground.
At the heart of the building is the handsome, beautifully uplit central lobby. Clear sightlines connect the learning spaces and the central lobby, allowing users to orientate themselves easily. The spatial solution weaves together opportunities for different types of pedagogical provision. The school is compact yet spacious, efficient yet airy.
This is the ninth time that the Finnish Association of Architects (SAFA) awards the Finlandia Prize for Architecture. The winner will be announced on 3 October 2022.
Photo: Kuvatoimisto Kuvio